When you take an Omega-3 Index test it gives you a percentage, which is simply a measure of the amount of EPA and DHA in your blood. An Omega-3 Index of 8% or higher is ideal, the lowest risk zone. However, most people hover around 6% or below. And unfortunately in the US, most people are at 4% or below – the highest risk zone.
Raising your Omega-3 Index to the desirable zone of 8% will help ensure you are getting enough of the right omega-3s — EPA and DHA — to protect your health.
The Omega-3 Index is a measure of omega-3s EPA + DHA in your blood. But how much omega-3 you eat is only part of the puzzle. There are many other factors that affect your Omega-3 Index such as:
The Omega-3 Index is a measure of omega-3s EPA + DHA in your blood. But how much omega-3 you eat is only part of the puzzle. There are many other factors that affect your Omega-3 Index such as genetics, gender, weight, age, and lifestyle.
Unfortunately most people don’t get enough of these important nutrients from their diets, which is why testing blood levels is so important.
Optimize Your Omega-3 Level in 3 Easy Steps
You may need to maintain the recommended EPA+DHA intake for 4-5 months in order to meet your goal Omega-3 Index.
Research shows omega-3 levels affect health
Supported by science.
Fatty acid levels start changing as soon as you change your diet and lifestyle and stabilize in 3-4 months.
Personalized dietary recommendations based off your test results.
All samples are processed in a central CLIA-certified laboratory.
The same validated and standardized sample processing methodology used in over 200 research studies.
Reference ranges show you how you compare to your peers.
How can I increase my Omega-3 Index?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 2 servings of fish per week (see Table below), averaging out to 250 mg/day EPA+DHA. Other countries, such as Canada and Australia, recommend 400-500 mg/day EPA+DHA. The FDA has also ruled that intakes of up to 3,000 mg/day of EPA+DHA combined from foods is “Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)” and may be consumed without concern of adverse effects by all adults. There are also recommendations for specific health conditions, such as:
- Patients with coronary heart disease – 1,000 mg/day EPA+DHA
- Patients with high triglycerides – 3,000-4,000 mg/day EPA+DHA
Fish oil supplements are a safe and potent source of EPA+DHA. The source and form of the omega-3s in the supplements affect how well you absorb the omega-3s, as well as whether or not you take them with food. There are also vegan/vegetarian supplements which contain omega-3s produced by algae and yeast. It is important to look at the label for the amount of EPA+DHA, specifically, that the supplement contains. For example, many supplements are 1,000 mg of fish oil but only contain 300 mg of EPA+DHA. There are some examples of the EPA+DHA levels in supplements included your report.
Omega-3 Index Calculator
Use the personalized estimate from the calculator to make a plan to change your EPA+DHA intake. For example, you take 300 mg EPA+DHA per day currently and have an Omega-3 Index of 4.0%. Your goal is to reach 8.0% so the calculator recommends 1075 mg EPA+DHA per day. Therefore, you would need add that amount to what you currently take, resulting in 1375 mg EPA+DHA per day (300 + 1075 = 1375 mg EPA+DHA per day). Also, it is not necessary to match the calculated dose exactly. For example, the calculator may recommend you increase your intake by 1235 mg EPA+DHA per day but you cannot find a supplement that provides exactly 1235 mg EPA+DHA. You can, however, find ones that provide 1200 mg or 1500 mg EPA+DHA. Either one is fine; the calculator is just an estimate.
Follow your new EPA+DHA regimen for at least 4 months before re-testing. While EPA+DHA intake is the primary driver of your Omega-3 Index, your genes and overall health can affect the Omega-3 Index response to dietary changes. You may require more (or less) EPA+DHA to reach your target Omega-3 Index. Re-testing is the only way to determine whether you have achieved your target Omega-3 Index.
*These calculations are based on results from a 5-month randomized, placebo-controlled fish oil supplementation study in 115 healthy individuals (Flock M et al. JAHA 2013).
Fish is the best dietary source for the omega-3s, EPA+DHA. Dietary intake of EPA+DHA directly influences Omega-3 Index. “Fatty,” “oily,” and “cold-water” are terms used to describe fish with higher levels of EPA+DHA. A full list of fish and their EPA+DHA levels is included in your report. There are also useful websites to help guide your fish decisions.
Plant-sources of omega-3s, such as walnuts, flaxseed oil and chia or flaxseeds, contain the omega-3 ALA. To a small extent, this omega-3 can be converted into EPA (and to an even smaller extent, DHA) in the body, but it is much less effective at raising Omega-3 Index levels when compared to taking pre-formed EPA+DHA. Plant-based omega-3 sources are still healthy food choices, but they will not raise your Omega-3 Index.